Saturday, August 1, 2009

Balsamic Eggplant and Zucchini: Simple, Easy, Delicious

As of right now, I see two benefits to having a garage sale: making money while doing nothing and having plenty of time to post recipes on the internet. So, while I am sitting and being lazy, I shall post a very simple recipe I came up with the other day.

I am obsessed with making foods that have very few ingredients and require only a small amount of preparation. Most of my meals are born out of very little planning, so I have to work with the ingredients I have on hand and usually within a small time frame. Thus, the idea of sliced zucchini and eggplant tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar was born. Not only is it ridiculously easy and inexpensive, it's delicious. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life, and it would never get old.

There are many ways to prep and cook this dish. The most delicious method I tried was putting everything on the grill. The smokey flavor is wonderful. If it's raining or you don't feel inclined to fire up the grill, oven-roasting is an acceptable alternative.

Balsamic Eggplant and Zucchini
Serves 4

  • 1 medium eggplant (*or two small, Japanese eggplants)
  • 1 large zucchini
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Slice the eggplant into 1/3-inch rounds and sprinkle each round with a generous amount of salt. Layer the rounds in a colander set over a shallow dish. Let the eggplant sweat for 2 hours or until a significant amount of liquid has collected in the dish. Wash the eggplant and set on paper towels to dry. (*NOTE: If you don't have two hours to spare, use the small Japanese eggplants. This step is essential if using larger eggplants because they contain a lot of bitterness. Trust me, your patience will be rewarded.)
  2. While eggplant rounds are drying, slice the zucchini on an angle in 1/4-inch ovals. Place eggplant and zucchini slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper (to your taste. I like plenty of both). Drizzle balsamic vinegar over top and toss until the vegetables are well-coated. Repeat with the olive oil (I toss the vegetables with vinegar first because I like my vegetables to soak up more of the balsamic flavor).
  3. Place eggplant and zucchini on grill and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes (this can really vary depending on how hot your grill is. The hotter the grill, the less time it will take. If oven-roasting, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about 15 minutes).
And voila! You have a scrumptious side dish.

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